Take a drive through central Ogden and you’re sure to see signs of the revitalization efforts underway. Ogden City’s Community Development Division works directly with residents to help restore and revitalize their homes through the Quality Neighborhoods Initiative. Community Development also invests in new infill housing and other neighborhood improvements. This initiative aims to make healthy neighborhoods of choice where residents from all backgrounds, in need of all types of housing from the single-family home to the studio apartment, can feel at home and invested in the community. Community Development offers several programs to make these improvements happen through federal, state, and local funds. Jeremy Smith, Community Development Manager for Ogden City, explains, “We’ve been able to use some of these funds for things like the HELP program.”
The Home Exterior Loan Program, known as HELP, offers home repair loans to owners needing a refresh on their matured homes. “There are no income restrictions for the HELP program. Anybody who wants to fix up their house, citywide, can use that program. It’s a resource to the citizens that may not qualify directly from a bank,” says Smith. Exterior improvements can be anything from repairing a driveway to putting in a sprinkler system. Homes needing updates inside include improved electrical work, plumbing, furnace and air conditioning, as well as installing fire detection equipment. The word is out on the HELP program. Due to high demand, Community Development is not currently taking applications but hopes to open the program back up in the Spring. Smith is happy to see these loans going to the right places saying, “It’s keeping us busy. It’s a problem we love to have.”
HELP is just one of several programs developed by Community Development. While the Quality Neighborhoods Initiative focuses on certain areas in Ogden, healthy neighborhoods are a citywide goal, “We want people to feel safe. We want them to see Ogden as a place they’re willing to stick around and build, to just make it their community and their home,” explains Smith. Another program helping create these Quality Neighborhoods is Own in Ogden. Those involved with Own in Ogden receive a loan to assist in home buying, helping with the down payment and closing cost. Last year, Ogden City awarded 47 down payment assistance loans and is on target to exceed that number this year. This program is available for low- and moderate-income households. Says Smith, “If you meet the income requirements, you can get a 10-thousand-dollar loan. It’s a deferred loan that they don’t pay back until they sell the house, so there’s no interest on that 10 grand.” Ogden City’s Community Development is currently taking applications for the Own in Ogden program.
A third program offered through the Quality Neighborhoods Initiative is Home Sweet Ogden, where the city buys homes, renovates, and sells them for affordable rates. The end goal of Home Sweet Ogden is to provide affordable homeownership opportunities to Ogden’s citizens while encouraging the community to be invested in their homes and neighborhoods. Community Development has spent the last
thirty plus years working to revitalize the East Central neighborhood in Ogden using the Home Sweet Ogden program. “It’s got so much history, so much awesome architecture, so much potential,” says Smith. “We’re trying to bring it back and bring it back to its glory through historic restoration and revitalization.” For those wanting to see the current inventory of homes recently renovated and for sale, head to ogdencityhomes.com.
Ogden City also builds new homes to sell in hopes of energizing surrounding neighborhoods. This work is evident in the recent Stone Hill and Oak Den developments. This area saw the construction of 45 homes, providing ownership opportunities for households across a range of income levels. Updating the neighborhood signals to other residents and surrounding communities that Ogden is a place worth investing in. Smith explains, “We can go in, develop our project, and because we don’t need to make a profit, we can reinvest that money and make the homes even nicer. Our motivation is we’d rather see that money stay within these neighborhoods.” Community Development recently finished building two homes on Monroe Boulevard with plans to continue building others in the East Central area to help elevate the neighborhood.
All the programs under the Quality Neighborhoods Initiative showcase what makes Ogden a great place to invest and live. Whether it be HELP, Own in Ogden or Home Sweet Ogden, positive outcomes can be seen throughout the city. “Anytime there’s an improvement to a home, you can see the whole neighborhood improve,” says Smith. “These efforts just catalyze the energy to fix up our neighborhoods. People take pride in their homes and just take care of them.”